Team Golf? How does that work for an individual sport?
Every four years we are treated to professional golfers running and cheering like school kids when they get together to play for their countries at the Ryder Cup. Multiple rounds of golf in front of crazy crowds, give us some of the most compelling golf competitions in the last few decades… so why do they get to have all the fun?… and why is there only two teams? More teams more fun!
Time for our on type of Ryder Cup. We make our own teams and we get to pick who is on them. It doesn’t even have to be every four years!
We all gather on a the night before the tournament, be it Alberta or Arizona or any other place we do this. Some of us show up a day earlier to enjoy the city and do a little sight seeing but we all end up in the same place at 8PM. The designated Draft Party venue. Everyone checks in and gets a lanyard with their name, on the back is the schedule for the next few days.
At this point old draft vets reacquaint with each other over a pint or shots of Jager, but the majority of the room does not know each other, especially if this is a new tournament.
The MC gets on the mic and starts herding the cats, the room is a bit quiet at first because no one knows each other yet, and we are off. Another Draft Party has begun. The captains come up to the stage to figure out what team they will be on. Captains crush the first round of drinks, the one who finished first gets to draw the team first and so we go in the order of finishing their drinks. We now know who has what team, so it is time to throw the shirt and hat on the captain.
Every tournament has a different theme and look, from “Draft of Thrones” to cereal, and Mighty Ducks, Whiskey brands, Halloween, and everything in between.
Anyway, the Captains have their teams, they crush another round of drinks, whoever finishes first gets to draft first in the next round, the order of finishing the drinks is the order of drafting. But it does not mean you are getting the best players in the next round, all rounds are set up in such a way that every player is of similar skill level/ handicap in the round, so you may be picking the beginners to add to your team, or you may be drafting ringers, you never know!
Once the chugging is done and we review the slo-mo to make sure no one is cheating, the captains make their picks by throwing a shirt on the player and taking a picture with them, they now have two players on their team. The draft picks of the second round are now up, they have to crush a drink, and the faster they drink the better pick their new team gets in the next round. And so on and so on, until your entire team is selected.
Finally it is time to draw the pairing for the weekend. Each round you will have a new teammates and a new style of game to play. Tee times and and partners are drawn randomly. Everything is set for the tournament. You have your team and your tee times.
The night is nearing the end, the teams are picked, the shirts dawned, the schedule is set, the room is loud and no one wants to leave. Everyone now knows everyone else and drinks are flowing, another successful Draft Party. For a night that started with most not knowing each other, they are now part of something special, a team for a weekend and a family for life.
Rounds start the next morning. Some dinner and a chance to go over the days best shots and best misses. The table is now set for finals Sunday. Is your team got what it takes to take home the A Championship or are you battling for the B? Does it matter? You finish your round and stay by the green to watch the rest of your team come in. Watch the scoreboard change. The anticipation grows… it comes down to this putt. Make it you win… the stroke. The ball is on it way…
It is a bit sad to leave all this fun behind, but the next Draft Tournament is just around the corner, and chances are you now know half the players coming. You make your way home to be greeted with a flurry of Facebook friend requests and a few days later Facebook blows up with all the pictures of the weekend’s activities. You sink into the couch, have a beer and go through a slow process of withdrawal wishing the next Draft Tournament was already here.